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Design of Everyday Things – Book Review


First written in 1988 and revised in 2013, some explanations and titles became obsolete, but the basic concepts have remained the same. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you’re ever in a position to build something, you simply have to read it. 

Norman shows many examples of what works why, how even simple and banal objects are filled with deep thoughts about each aspect and how products evolve.

If you take anything from this book, it is these 7 principles of making a difficult design task an easy one.

  1. Use both knowledge in the world and knowledge in the head.
  2. Simplify the structure of tasks.
  3. Make things visible: bridge the gulfs of Execution and Evaluation.
  4. Get the mappings right.
  5. Exploit the power of constraints, both natural and artificial.
  6. Design for error.
  7. When all else fails, standardize.

Watchout for: 

  • Some good points, but you it’s buried under some fluff.
  • Norman’s prose is not the most engaging.
  • At times, the analysis and conclusion are superficial
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Mayuresh S. Shilotri writes on Product, EdTech, UX, Customer Development & Early Stage Growth. 2,000-Word posts only. You can discover more about me here

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